While Taylor Swift continues to sit atop the Billboard country albums chart this week, presumably texting friends and looking over her shoulder for some really serious competition, Montgomery Gentry leapfrogs Blake Shelton to seize the summit of the songs list.
Considerably farther down the mountain, we spy four new albums and two fresh tunes.
That's the big picture. Here's the microscopic one: In spite of the several contenders who've had a No. 1 album for a week or so, the traction of Swift's eponymous debut package just won't relax. During the 88 weeks it's been out, the album has held the No. 1 niche for 22, a full quarter of its long chart life. Talk about a sunny summer!
Veteran road warriors Montgomery Gentry can do some bragging, too. After keeping a relatively low profile the last few months, the duo has roared back with "Back When I Knew It All," the title cut from their new album. Two weeks ago, the song was at No. 6. Last week, it sprang to No. 3. Now this week it's crowing on top of the barn.
The new albums are Reckless Kelly's Bulletproof, the week's highest debut at No. 22; Mark Chesnutt's Rollin' With the Flow (No. 35); the multi-artist collection Patriotic Country, Vol. 3 (No. 37); and The Road Hammers' Blood, Sweat & Steel (No. 50).
Returning albums are Tim McGraw: Collector's Edition (No. 70); Trisha Yearwood's Greatest Hits (No. 71); and Ronnie Milsap's 16 Biggest Hits (No. 72).
Songs cropping up for the first time are Toby Keith's "She Never Cried In Front Of Me" (No. 55) and Jewel's "I Do" (No. 60). The Zac Brown Band's "Chicken Fried" re-enters at No. 56.
Brad Paisley's never-say-die single, "Waitin' on a Woman," persists in bounding up the charts, this week leaping from No. 34 to No. 26. It came on just three weeks ago at No. 51.
Trailing Swift's album in the No. 2 to No. 5 spots, respectively, are Keith's 35 Biggest Hits, Carrie Underwood's Carnival Ride, Jewel's Perfectly Clear and Sugarland's Enjoy the Ride.
The remaining Top 5 songs, in the same order, are Shelton's "Home" (in its second week at No. 2), Kenny Chesney's "Better as a Memory" (coming off two weeks at No. 1), Alan Jackson's "Good Time" and Dierks Bentley's "Trying to Stop Your Leaving."
Here's hoping you survived the Fourth without any patriotic sparkler burns.